While we were in Queenstown, we were contemplating whether to take the East Coast or the West Coast as we head up north. Online reviews tell us that the West Coast gives tourists a gorgeous view of the Tasman Sea, but a local we talked to advised us to take the East Coast because of the rainy weather that poses danger to motorists. Sadly, there’s nothing to see in the East except small towns.
We threw caution into the wind for the chance to see the other beautiful parts of South Island, so we stuck to the original plan and took the West Coast. And I’m glad we did, else we would have missed a lot!
The three-day drive we took from south to north was a total of 811 kilometers, and this slick Mitsubishi Lancer was our ride for five days from the time we arrived in Queenstown. Not too shabby!
Wanaka was our first stop where we saw the Wanaka Lake and visited Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World. We jokingly tagged the Puzzling World as “Crazy House” because the things you will see inside, such as the “Ames” False Perspective Room you see above, will really make you go crazy! Haha!
We also made a quick stop in Fox Glacier to take some pictures. By nightfall, we have reached Franz Josef and checked-in at Montrose Backpackers. After walking around this small town to get dinner (and meeting a kababayan at the supermarket), we retired back to the inn for a nice sleep before a very early rise the next morning.
The following day, we hiked to see the Franz Josef Glacier, stopped by Lake Lanthe, and planned to have our lunch and tour the Monteith’s Brewery in Greymouth. But the brewery was closed that day, much to our despair.
Punakaiki was probably the most interesting place we saw on the second day of our drive because it is where the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes lie. The Pancake Rocks are an eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through vertical blowholes during high tides. It was quite fun to watch and take videos of the blowholes!
And finally, after days of gazing at them from afar, we pulled over to the side of the road to take close-up pictures of the BIRCH TREE COWSSS. In the picture above, you will see that they were looking back at us, with disdain, as if knowing with absolute certainty that we are third-world tourists! LOL.